“I spent my afternoons as a boy in the Bronx in the local library,” he recalls. “It was where I did my homework, saw my friends and was introduced to the magic of the written word.
“Now to be given the opportunity to serve as Chairman of the Library's Board of Trustees is truly a great honor. I am committed to continue to serve all the children, and all of the others throughout our community, who are immeasurably benefitted by the work of the New York Public Library.”
Chesler and Cravath are well acquainted with Patience and Fortitude, the lions who guard the flagship library at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street. Former Cravath presiding partner Samuel Butler also served as Chairman of the library's board, from 1999-2004. With 53 million items, the library is the largest public library system in the United States. More than 18 million visitors went to one of the library’s 88 neighborhood branches or used one of its four scholarly research centers in 2012.
Chesler has been a member of the Library’s Board of Trustees since November 2009, most recently serving as both Vice Chairman and Executive Committee Chairman. Considered among the most illustrious litigators in the U.S., Chesler is also a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a fellow of the New York Bar Foundation, and a member of the Council of the American Law Institute. He is also the President of the Dwight Opperman Institute of Judicial Administration, the oldest nonpartisan organization in the United States devoted to the education of the judiciary.
Chesler is an adjunct professor at New York University Law School and has taught at NYU’s College of Arts and Science. He is on the boards of both New York University and the New York University School of Law. He received his undergraduate and legal degrees from NYU, and holds a master’s degree in Russian area studies from Hunter College.
[Read "New York Story," Lawdragon's 2006 cover story on Evan Chesler as he prepared to become Cravath's presiding partner.]